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    FEARLESS JONES by Walter Mosley

    Little, Brown and Company, 2001

    Paris Minton relishes his rare status as a black entrepeneur in the Los Angeles of the 1950s. His used bookstore may not be part of the Fortune 500, but he pays the rent and enjoys the opportunity to read as much as he wants. When a beautiful woman walks into his store, Paris knows he is in trouble. Sure enough, within hours he has been beaten up, his store burned to the ground, and exposed to a plot to recover thousands of stolen dollars.

    Paris knows he is in over his head and turns to his jailed friend Fearless Jones who, true to his name, isn't afraid of anything. Together, these very different men try to get to the bottom of a growing series of murders and intrigue.

    Author Walter Mosley (see all reviews of mystery or science fiction novels by this author) does an excellent job giving a flavor for the African American dialect, culture, and brutal discrimination of the 1950s without reducing readability or reading becoming preachy. The matter-of-fact way that Paris thinks about and deals with police violence against blacks (against himself) rings frightfully true. Even better, Mosley develops Paris and Fearless as two very different, but powerfully motivated and likable characters.

    FEARLESS JONES does leave a few loose ends behind, but is a wonderfully entertaining and powerfully moving mystery.

    Four Stars

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